Prescott – The Dome Super-casino

Admit it, Blair: Britain is no better than Belize or Belarus

Bliss it was in that dawn to be alive. It was frankly a bit of a miracle, too. Yesterday a sweltering sun rose on Prescott’s Britain, and I suppose we should all be grateful that we woke up at all. Not only is Two Jags in charge of our roads: for the next two weeks – or for however long Blair is away – the former Cunard waiter is in charge of our Middle East policy, and, which I think you will agree is truly terrifying, Prescott’s porky thumb is poised over the British nuclear button.

Prescott is having his annual bash at supreme power and, in honour of his accession, I thought I would make a pilgrimage to the place that is at the heart of his troubles. Indeed, it is the one building that sums up all the pretensions and deceptions of this Government.


For the first time in more than five years, I went to North Greenwich. I got out of the Tube, and once again I saw the vast parabola of our great national tent, our marquee de sad, its silhouette figuratively soaring from ludicrous hype to bitter disappointment.

Except this time, of course, there was no one there, or no one except a few security guards and the odd desultory builder. There hasn’t been anyone there since it closed, amid shame and ignominy, on December 31, 2000. Never mind Prescott’s Stetsons and the embarrassing hand-tooled cowboy boots and the undeclared stays at the billionaire’s ranch. To understand why Labour is in such difficulties about casinos, you have to remember the disaster of the Dome.

Just before the big top opened, Tony Blair declared that it was going to be a “triumph of confidence over cynicism, boldness over blandness, excellence over mediocrity”. Well, it was a triumph of spin over substance, and a very considerable floperoo. Instead of celebrating any aspect of British history or achievement or civilisation, the Government produced a cultural nullity, a politically correct void inside a vacuum inside a huge New Labour inanition.

The climax, I seem to recall, was a mystifying mime show, with men on stilts acting the part of large orange bogeys. The “experience” cost the thick end of a billion, drew half the visitors expected and, even after it closed, has been costing the taxpayer about a million a month. The only way to rescue the project – and so save New Labour face – was to claim that it was part of a big redevelopment project for the Greenwich peninsula, a particularly ill-favoured patch of soil that had previously hosted a gasworks.

Blair and Prescott cast around for a solution and, in the summer of 2002, Prezza had his first meeting with Philip Anschutz. Wonderful news – this charming and delightful American had a plan. He took the Dome off the Government’s hands; he even paid for it, and he and his allies began to produce fantastic mock-ups of how Greenwich might look.

You can see them yourself, just by the Dome. There are marinas and parks and schools and upscale flats and social housing. There are a total of 25,000 new homes envisaged, and 10,000 jobs, and 360,000 square feet of new retail areas – and yet, in the five years since the Dome closed, not one has been started.

Why? Because it is the plans for Anschutz’s Dome entertainment complex that generate the life and the jobs in Greenwich; and at the heart of the Dome there is still a void and a hole and a great quivering question mark. Anschutz needs one thing to make sense of his project. From the beginning, Prescott and Blair can have been in no doubt what it was.

This guy makes money from the drug of optimism. People sit in serried rows at his Las Vegas machines, their bottoms almost welded to their chairs, robotically pulling the levers. Every time they make the mistake of believing they can win, they give a little more to the casino, and Anschutz knows that, unless he is able to trade on that central delusion, it is much more difficult to make the Dome pay. Without gambling, the hotel is non-viable, and the 23,000-seat theatre less easy to fill.

Blair and Prescott have understood this reality from the beginning. The Americans have left them in no doubt. That is why the British Government has moved heaven and earth to legalise US-style super-casinos in this country. That is the reason – and that is the only reason – why we had the Gambling Act and that is why Prescott is now so desperate, so eye-poppingly hair-pullingly desperate, to get a super-casino in Greenwich. Forget about Blackpool or the claims of other, poorer cities.

Under the pressure of public disapproval, Labour has been forced to reduce the number of super-casinos to one, and it must must must go to the Dome; or else the deal could falter.

What a sordid and unbelievable spectacle. The Government has changed the laws on gambling in this country to salve its embarrassment over the Dome, and to give Anschutz a sweet enough prize.

It’s not so much that I object to the gambling in itself, though there is plenty of evidence that people find it hard to cope with the drug. Anyone who has been to Las Vegas or Surfer’s Paradise will testify that these are not sophisticated casinos. There are no James Bond-style tuxedos and girls draping themselves over the back of your chair; just chinking avenues of self-delusion.

Nor do I accuse Prescott or Blair of any personal corruption. Of course they are not benefiting in any way, apart from the boots and the hat. They are doing what they think is the best thing for Greenwich and the country.

It’s just the pretence that drives me mad, the pretence that Prescott has had no hand in steering the super-casino to the Dome; the pretence that Anschutz should invite Prescott to his ranch for any other reason; the pretence that there is no connection between saving the Dome and permitting super-casinos.

Of course we expect governments to change their laws to suit the needs of foreign billionaires. I am sure it happens everywhere from Belize to Belarus. It would just be nice if they were honest, and admitted that it now happens in Britain, too.

75 thoughts on “Prescott – The Dome Super-casino”

  1. The biggest gamble anyone could make would be to vote in that dodgy little pipsqueak leading the Tories.

    Blair is a dick but at least he’s predictably dishonest and kowtows to the usual suspects. Who Pinnochio gets his orders from is more of a mystery.

  2. Don’t be so bloody silly, Boris.

    The Dome has been a disaster ever since it was first conceived. Which I think you’ll find, if you check your facts before inserting your foot in your mouth, was the work of a TORY administration.

    Why did it fail so spectacularly? Because they PUT IT IN THE WRONG PLACE. And no matter what’s happened to the Dome since then, you can’t pin that decision on Labour.

    You have a considerable talent for rhetoric, Boris – it’s just a damn shame your current career path compels you to use that talent to blame every one of the world’s ills on the current administration. For all their faults.

    ‘It’s just the pretence that drives ME mad’.

  3. “the Government produced a cultural nullity, a politically correct void inside a vacuum inside a huge New Labour inanition.”

    So they produced the Lib Dems?

    Being able to trade off your own quotes. Now you know you’ve made it 🙂

  4. Dreams or nightmares Abi?
    I understand that it is very easy to get swept away by Boris’ boyish good-looks and disarming air of charming buffoonery. But you are ignoring the political issues – are you actually considering what Mr Johnson is saying, and indeed, whether he is saying anything at all or making non-specific observations rather than direct commitments?
    Of course, we are all in agreement that Blair and Prescott are calculating and manipulative, and that the Dome is an embarrassment to our nation. We realise that the government will change our laws to suit foreign millionaires – what government doesn’t? I don’t imagine that the Tories would be any better. If only the real politicians in the party were confident enough to say these things.

  5. Ape, if you are so keen to parade yourself as an expert on world affairs, you should first learn how to spell Pinocchio.

    And why is everyone being so horrible to Boris all of a sudden, apart from dream girl Abi? That piece was spot on. The Dome is a grotesque, highly visible testament to Labour’s arrogance and ineptitude, no matter who chose the site. Are you saying, Mark, it would have been a roaring success in Hertfordshire or Bromley or Hull or…? Nah, it was pure candyfloss – just like all NewLab ideas.

    I sometimes wonder where Labour would be now if Blair was an ugly-looking sod.

  6. what do you mean paul? blair is an ugly looking sod.

    i agree partly with what the first chap said, as a lifelong tory supporter i am rather worried by the party leader, it’s not that he’s an old etonian, i have no problem with that and would welcome boris as leader, but it is that he is awfully liberal.

  7. Paul D – that’s exactly what I’m saying. Somewhere near Coventry or Milton Keynes would have been my best bet. Within easy reach of the motorway network. It works for the National Exhibition Centre. It works for Thorpe Park. It works for Chessington World of Adventure. You may not like these places and neither do I, but they succeed because they’ve been placed somewhere people can drive to quickly and easily.

    Labour completely mishandled the Dome, I agree. But its fundamental problem was location – and the location was chosen because Michael Heseltine was busy making patronising political points about urban regeneration at the time.

    I don’t mind Boris taking a pot at Labour’s management of the Dome since then, or its current ghastly rebranding as O2 or whatever it is, but I do object strongly to his selective memory. All our politicians would serve us a whole sight better if they started acting like statesman rather than gang members in a school playground whose only interest is scoring points at the expense of the other gang.

  8. re Dave’s comments about Cameron being ‘awfully liberal’.

    If only! I’d love a return to true Gladstonian liberal values. I tend to vote conservative because we don’t have a true liberal party in this country, and the Topries are the closest thing.

    Boris at least appears to be both economically and socially liberal. So far Cameron appears to be more socialist than liberal.

    BTW, why do the Americans so misuse the word ‘liberal’ when they really mean ‘socialist’? Do they think that describing views as ‘socialist’ is an un-American activity?

  9. i actually meant liberal in a number of ways, including the american way, you are utterly right he is awfully left wing isn’t he, but also he seems to act rather as the lib dems do, opposing labours unpopular decisions and not proposing anything else, plus i am not entirely at ease with his general demeanour, would gladly welcome a return to the good old days of margaret thatcher though, economic recovery and growth are the two things that we are lacking above all things. finally a question, why have the lefties never been able to run the economy succesfully? i’ll answer that myself, socialism isn’t conducive to good economic growth.

  10. I have always considered Boris Johnson the decent sort of Conservative whose political outlook was far above the tawdry social divisiveness of the Thatcher era. It is therefore a surprise to me, and a disappointment, to see gratuitous reference to John Prescott’s early career: the Cunard waiter. Like him or not, Mr Prescott had risen from humble beginnings with great determination, and it was surely not easy for him. I am sorry to think that Mr Johnson might be a Tory snob after all.

  11. Robbie King – the Kray twins rose from humble beginnings to achieve fame and fortune, through great detirmination I’m sure.

  12. Sorry, spelling mistake, that should have been ‘determination’ as in ‘deter people breathing’.

    I understand that the Kray twins operated in a criminal fraternity and only killed other criminals. Whilst I’m not advocating murder, I think it is worth noting the distinction between these men and say Tony Bliar and Mr Gordon Brown. To my knowledge, the Kray twins never robbed pensioners on a national scale, or indeed at all, they never sent innocent sons and fathers to thier death in a foreign land for no legitimate reason, or indeed at all. In fact, next to Bliar and Brown, the Kray twins look like gentlemen.

    Prescott has never looked anything but a fat arse.

  13. The point — for jaq and indeed Boris Johnson — is that John Prescott may be incompetent, though he is not the only politician who might be so described. Yet his origins are cited as the explanation. Take another case: the well-bred Norman Lamont is often pilloried for his handling of the chancellorship yet no one cites his school, university or early jobs when mentioning his mistakes. Prescott, by contrast, gets the Homeric epithet of waiter as the exhaustive explanation of all of the errors of his political career. Don’t you see a difference?

  14. Robbie: Yes I do understand. It gets worse. Some politicians a great deal more capable than JP find themselves under remorseless attack for their origins, school and university.

  15. What’s wrong with Belize and Belarus anyway? I’ve never been there and don’t know where they are even on the map but I bet they’re more fun than North bastard Greenwich.

    Typical Tory crap. Criticize criticize criticize but carry on sitting back doing eff all but looking smug.

    All Johnson ever does is take the piss out of other people and policies. You can tell he’s at least as vertebrally challenged as Blair or he would have made a statement about the mass murder in the Middle East.

  16. > I’ve never been there and don’t know where they are even on the map…

    Good old Ape. Informed as ever. Next he’ll be telling us he can work a typewriter.

    Ape, can’t you see you’re wasting your time here? Most contributors have something interesting to say, apart from me. Now run along – it’s almost feeding time.

  17. citing JP’s origins as reasons for his incompetence is certainly unfair, look at individuals like micheal howard who made it to the top from fairly humble beginnings, these are people we should look up to, they have worked hard to get where they are, we shouldn’t look up tp prescott though because the man is a moron, pure and simple.

  18. Good point dave.

    I look at it in a all ponies are horses but all horses are not ponies kinda way. What I mean is that all waiters are not stupid but in Prescotts case, carrying a plate from A to B is about all he’s good for. That was what I thought the media was getting at. Actually they may have been overestimating his talent – there’s an art to being a good waiter.

  19. now, now, JP has got more talent than that. his talent lies in making vitriolic speeches about tory sleaze, and then being a sleazy sh!t himself. basically the guy is a union firebrand, and not a very good one at that considering his money, his house(s), and his actions.

  20. PaulD,
    I found Ape’s comment quite interesting and, from what I’ve read on this and other pages, not entirely unjustified.

  21. I’ve asked a number of people where hey think Belize and Belarus are located.

    Belize Results:
    1 No idea at all
    5 Caribbean
    6 Spain
    3 South of France
    1 Mid Atlantic
    1 Middle East
    2 Central America (correct, although none of the people polled could tell me exactly where)

    Belarus Results:
    7 Soviet Union/Eastern bloc
    2 Russia
    3 Yugoslavia
    1 East Germany
    2 Scandanavia
    1 North of Ukraine/East of Poland (correct)
    2 Turkey(?!?)
    1 Middle East (?!?)

    None of the people I asked knew the location of both correctly. I would estimate the sample (of 19 people) consisted of persons between 14 and 70 years old.

    Just for the record.

  22. So PaulD, it seems you have appointed yourself the sole arbiter of what is ‘interesting’ on this site and, it seems, you are also prepared to defend this position. Well done, I admire confidence even when it’s misplaced.

    Unjustified sarcasm, alas, only attracts derision.

  23. Is anyone enjoying this flaming or shall I stop now? There’s a lot more where that came from but I don’t want to waste Melissa’s bandwidth on these nincompoops (gosh, just looked it up – even better than I thought: “A person who publicly displays his ignorance”).

  24. OK Gordon, one more then I bow out. Let’s dismantle your last, word by word, in the hope that you and Ape will realise why you are pillocks.

    It seems you have appointed yourself…

    What evidence have you that I seek a formal appointment? I am merely contributing, like everyone else

    the sole arbiter of what is ‘interesting’ on this site…

    Have I singled out any posting or postings, for being “interesting”?

    you are also prepared to defend this position…

    What position? What “defence”?

    Well done, I admire confidence even when it’s misplaced…

    See ‘sarcasm’ below. Pot, kettle?

    Unjustified sarcasm…

    Unjustified? Who says?

    alas…

    Why ‘alas’, except to make yourself sound like a mighty fine writer?

    only attracts derision.

    Which is precisely why you and Ape have attracted it. Now piss off.

  25. Paul, don’t you know that saying ‘piss off’ is a sure-fire way to bring someone back? Works a great.

    jaq said:
    “Come back Mac, all is forgiven.”

    Amen to that.

  26. I feel no need to justify my original position, that being that I found Ape’s comments interesting, a view diametrically opposed to your own.

    On a more personal note, I feel obliged to observe that you are an unpleasant and rude individual and that your words appear to be derived primarily from spite and vitriol. I see little value or merit in any of your ‘contributions’; presumably they serve more to inflate your undernourished ego rather than to engage debate. They certainly haven’t increased my knowledge of any matter at hand except perhaps that people like you are depressingly reflective of contemporary society.

    I doubt that I will be visiting this site again, largely because it seems less than welcoming to newcomers, so please don’t trouble yourself with a reply for my benefit.

    I sincerely hope you can impress your chums here with your wit and repartee in the inevitable riposte to the comments herein. However, given the sad and tawdry efforts thus far, the latter concept seems somewhat fantastic.

    Your attitude deserves nothing more than scorn, derision and small regard.

    I remain yours, in all courtesy

    Gordon London.

  27. Gordon

    In all courtesy too, I would point out to Ape – and to a much lesser extent yourself – that Boris Johnson has provided this site. It’s not an anything-goes forum funded by pop-up ads. Think of it as Mr Johnson hosting a dinner party where people are invited round for political discussion. It could get quite heated – he can cope with that – but the line has to be drawn at calling the host “spineless” along with various other direct insults. Abuse at this level is plain bad manners and the perpetrator is bound to feel the disgust of other more reasonable guests. It really is as simple as that.
    Anyone for pudding?

  28. Nora! Great to see you back on the board. As you can see all the animals have escaped. I’d deal with the trolls myself but I can never get the spell right – swish and flick!

    PaulD – I would love some pudding thankyou, and I see in the Sundays that one particular pundit now resembles one! Answers on a postcard please.

  29. (Guffaws of raucous laughter)

    Hay Johnson, you fat poltroon. If these pricks are representative of Tory support you are so FUUUUUCKED!

    P.S.
    PaulD(ildo), that was the most feeble putdown in the history of blogdom. You SUCK dweeb! Are you some kind of weed?

  30. Sorry for interrupting the nascent flamewar, but Alex the camel, what are you talking about? Guido and I get on just fine, so why you’re claiming I’m some kind of plagiarist I do not know. Nor does he. Nor, I think, do you.

    Ask him.

    In unrelated news, I never heard of the Dome until this year, so if it was supposed to be some kind of huge tourist draw I can say it was rather underpublicized abroad.

    In related news, American research shows that for every $1 brought into a community by a casino, it costs $1.60 in social services like Children’s Aid, welfare, etc.

    And yes, it’s silly and snobbish for Boris to bash Prescott for his background when his actions offer much richer ground.

  31. “Admit it, Blair: Britain is no better than Belize or Belarus ”

    Boris – still totally fixated by ” Britain ” . The name of the state which still – in name only – occupies the island of Britain , was Great Britain – as laid in Article 11 of the Act of Union 1707- and it inspired vast loyalty .

    Since the advent of parliaments for Scotland and Wales – which are a direct contradiction of Article 111 of that same Act of Union – the state of Great Britain has been dying . That process is now well advanced and signified by the renaming it with the anaemic ” Britain “. Large numbers of the largest part of Great Britain ie England , now regard themselves as English – and nothing else . The British goverenmnet has degenerated into little more than a celtic government of occupation of England and an intensely anti English one at that . It relies on the passivity of the ” Opposition” to get away this .

    Boris , you are English I believe ( or are you one of those English who always hotly denies us and then goes on to expond on such and such celtic ancestry ? )
    Next time that word comes to your mind which you have been brainwashed into saying -try saying ” English or England ” instead .

    You might learn something .

  32. Yup that was the one.

    Unfortunately the stuff about the raccoon and the hillbilly may well be true. I should add that hillbillies get stuck in your teeth.

  33. Anyone for pudding? (PaulD)

    Have we already got to the pudding?! I thought we were still just munching on bread rolls before the mulligatawny soup.

  34. Wikipedia :
    Early life
    He was one of the four children born to Stanley Johnson and his first wife, Charlotte Johnson-Wahl. He is the great-grandson of the last interior minister of the Imperial Turkish government, Ali Kemal. Boris’s great grandparents came to England in 1910 to stay with his great great grandmother and to give birth to Boris’ grandfather. Winifred, his great grandmother died of puperal fever soon after giving birth and Boris’s great grand father, grandfather and great aunt lived in Wimbledon until 1912 when Ali Kemal returned to Turkey. During the Great War Boris’s grandfather and great aunt were given British citizenship taking their grandmother’s maiden name of Johnson. Boris was educated at Eton College, where he was a King’s Scholar, and read Greats at Balliol College, Oxford, where he was a Brackenbury Scholar, and President of the Oxford Union. While at Oxford he was also a member of the Bullingdon Club, a socially exclusive student dining society.

    At 23 (1987), he was married to Allegra Mostyn-Owen; the marriage was dissolved in 1993.

    In 1993, he married Marina Wheeler, a barrister (and the daughter of journalist and broadcaster Sir Charles Wheeler), who is the mother of his two sons and two daughters.


    Well , his family have had 90 years or so to become English – more than enough for many English – and yet he still rabbits on dementedly about a place called Britain – which is nothing more than a geographical designation . If it is anything else then it is a governemnt of occupation of England –

    – with which he would seem to identify closely – he has – so far – conspicuously not identified himself with the English , only with the British state .

  35. He’s actually only had a few years. Born in NYC, raised in Belgium was it? till he was old enough to get sent offshore to Eton.

    I don’t think you can call it “pudding,” can you? It might scare off the sans culottes.

  36. Mark Gamon said:

    ‘Labour completely mishandled the Dome, I agree. But its fundamental problem was location – and the location was chosen because Michael Heseltine was busy making patronising political points about urban regeneration at the time.’

    Rubbish. If that were true, then explain the following.

    When the Dome went bust, one of the sponsors was asked whether they were peed off about their losses. Their spokesperson’s reply – we made £10 million out of the Dome!

    The Dome made money, alright, that money didn’t, however, find its way back into the public purse.

    Either the Government hadn’t a clue how to cost and negotiate a contract or, for reasons best known to themselves, they were not unduly fussed about checking the fine print of the Dome agreement – or about wantonly doling out huge sums of public money for beggar all.

    The boss of this company sponsor made at least one large donation to Nulabour, possibly more than one. His company are a huge beneficiary of Government contracts.

    Who were the instigators of a piece of legislation which seemed tailor made to serve this sponsor’s interests and to damage small independants in its industry – who’d been nibbling away at the sponsor’s business quite effectively prior to this Act being passed?

    Who can say? All that can be said with certainty is that a lot of largely groundless and unproven, anecdotal allegations from an industry insider were quoted as though these were gospel in the Government’s consultation document. What was the nature of these allegations? One claimed that the industry had a .038% rate of complaint – the sort of rate that the Government would give its eye teeth for! Someone obviously had the uncritical ear of the department concerned.

  37. Time for a ciggy before the main course? (PaulD)

    (darts eyes furtively around)

    Time for two or three, I think.

  38. Sorry if I took my eye off the ball.

    But I’ve been thinking more about Israel than anything these past couple of weeks.

    And, for what it’s worth, the way I’ve seen it has been that Israel has launched an absurd and self-destructive war.

    They started out by making the cardinal error of any military campaign, which is to attack the wrong enemy. Their real enemy was Hezbollah, but, hey guess what, they went and attacked Lebanon. This catastrophic mistake alone gold-platinum guaranteed from day one that this would be a lost war. It’s a modern equivalent of the Charge of the Light Brigade, charging the wrong guns. Except it lacks the absurd valour of the Light Brigade.

    And as a result of attacking Lebanon rather than Hezbollah, they have won the deserved contempt of the world for the unnecessary deaths they have caused. And at the same time they have not suppressed Hezbollah’s rocket counterattack, and indeed enhanced the stature of Hezbollah’s wily Sheik Nasrallah beyond wild imagination.

    And now, belately, when they’ve swung round to face their real enemy, after destroying half Lebanon, they can hardly capture a single village. “Rich, fat, and stupid,” Haaretz jeered at this plodding army a few days ago, as Hezbollah rockets continued to rain down in ever-increasing numbers on Israel.

    But it’s far worse than that. Israel has lost this war, and lost it comprehensively. There is now no way out of this utter defeat, however many bombs they drop on UN observers, Red Cross vehicles, and civilian refugees.

  39. Well put Mr Idlex, sir!

    I am glad that there is at least one person with some brains and a social conscience on Johnson’s ego trip, sorry blog.

  40. Come now Boris, you are only jealous because Prescott’s affair prompted more attention from the press than yours did. Also, if your finger were poised over thenuclear button, wouldn’t you trip over it whilst swiping your hair out of the way and er press it by accident?

  41. Errrr, yikes!

    Could be, errrm, button? Not sure I catch your drift, nuclear you say.

    Crikey!

  42. At least she didn’t call it “nucular” so she can’t be American.

    As for the rest of us, we’ve only got our fingers poised over the “Post” button, but for most it is sufficiently radioactive, particularly lately.
    *deletes four lines hurriedly*
    Just call me Tricky Dick.

  43. Herewith, I refer to Mr Johnson’s underused and sadly oft ineffectually targeted intellectual prowess of course. If only he got his act together.

    I think that Boris chose Britain ,Belize and Belarus for the alliterative effect, which is rather beautiful from a language point of view,and very shocking in terms of the comparison made.

    The comparison may not be entirely inappropriate unfortunately. I think it is a pity that Boris did not expand on this comparison, rather than going off on a rant. But I suppose it is the ranting that sells papers.

    From a political point of view, I do agree with those comments in which it has been suggested that New Labour was left with a bad legacy from the Tories in 1997. In the early days after that election NL said this loud and often and were ridiculed,sadly by the then opposition.

    After 9 years more should have changed for the better and hasn’t,as our Boris so subtly implies.

    However ,many of those policies still causing problems in social policy in particular ,were introduced by Mrs Thatcher and have not been changed by TB et al.None of these people are truly socialists anyway and in some areas of social policy , things have got decidely worse.This IS a legacy of previous Tory policy and it IS also the responsibility of New Labour – both parties are to blame therefore.

    I agree with those who are not happy with Mr Prescott’s policies, I don’t think he thinks things through at all. There has been a lack of clear principle, thought through policy and appropriate strategy.

    I find it alarming that the country is being sold off to foreign millionaires. This is not the USA , this is England’s very tiny but green and pleasant land ,but it won’t be for much longer if Prezza carries on as at present,introducing foreign hi-jinks suitable for Las Vegas and building houses all over the place with no thought to who is going to live in them or whether it will be worth living here at all ,if the whole of the land is covered with them.

    Then there is the nuclear policy. Belarus has not yet recovered from the Chernobyl
    disaster.Maybe that is worth thinking about when we look to future energy policy as we are now.

    Perhaps the problem is that if our Tone got wind of any sensible policies he has not thought of himself ,he would adopt them, and claim credit for them,thus leaving our Dave out in the cold again?
    So perhaps Boris is being deliberately obtuse?

    With regard to the situation in the Middle East,which Boris alluded to, Mr Prescott is not noted for his diplomacy and the situation IS very tense.
    I just hope not too many decision makers are away on holiday.

    Peace be unto you all.

  44. Going back to my first comment. Please read Boris’ first paragraph,line 8 last 2 words: nuclear button

    Boris suggests he is terrified by the prospect of Mr Prescott being left in charge of the country.

    I was simply saying that I would be just as ill at ease if Boris were the Deputy PM and left in charge of the country, despite the fact that Boris is plainly a very articulate and intellectual sort of chap and Mr Prescott is a plain speaking sort of fellow.

    This is because Boris is just as daft as Mr Prescott in some ways.

    Fou comme une brosse ,as they say where I come from.

    But then I gather he is just 40 so there is time for him to grow up into a fine man.

  45. Read this Jack [ramsey],

    it’s some of the evidence for ‘Israeli Apartheid’ you reckon doesn’t exist.

    I’ve tried to post this a few times but ‘someone’ keeps rejecting them. (So much for Boris being pro free speech huh!)

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0,,1703245,00.html

    I haven’t hyperlinked it because the server bounces it automatically AND IT MYSTERIOUSLY DISAPPEARS INTO HYPERSPACE

    (so you’ll have to cut and paste it)

  46. Susan,

    If you think Boris rants, have you tried reading some other so-called journalists.

    I’ve given up reading about current events anywhere but the Financial Times, no political bias, just tells you the facts.

  47. Steve.

    I hadn’t really thought of Boris as a journalist. I agree about Times, good paper.

    Susan

  48. I’ve had 2 jobs before Susan, one in a bar, one in a call centre, no reason why someone can’t be an MP and a journo.

    It’s on the MP’s register of interests, he was good in the lecturers strike, what he writes is open to debate, and debate he lets you.

  49. Ape, you worry me by your reference to a “social conscience”. Do you honestly think no-one on this site other than Idlex and perhaps a couple of others has no social conscience?

    I’m trying to think what that phrase means. No concern for our fellow humans? No understanding of a political strategy that benefits other people? No sympathy for people worse off than ourselves, or a passionate desire to improve their condition? No wish to see anything change unless we gain from it personally?

    If so, my friend, you are very much mistaken.

  50. Well Steve, did our Boris ever work in those lowly jobs as it seems did you and as it happens I? I think not.

    What say you?

    As Opposition spokesman for Higher Ed, our Boris should have a clear duty in the lecturers strike,but you can bet he will oppose what he now espouses , if he gets to be in power in that role. Just as before. Sad to say.

    Verily, I do very much like our Boris, even though he be a Tory and I am not. A wealthy sort of fellow. Were he a dog he would be ,a sort of Golden Labrador no doubt.

    I do not at all like totalitarianism in any guise.
    Therefore I am glad that Boris upholds debate.

    When he can.

    Although he did say to me he had gone to China to learn how to spell CAT,which seems to me to be overspending just a tad.

    As to me I am Sue Scullard who opposed the new contract in FE in 1992,at great cost to my own life.

    On that case has years of litigation been based.It has served many good Doctors , and other public servants ,but never has it served my own people FHE lecturers as I would have wished it.

    And Dear Steve, you are not allowed all those different careers at once, as our Boris has permitted himself to have,daoes have and actually should not have.

    And Steve that is because of Tory policy -actually.

    And so Dear Steve, and Boris.. I wish you goodnight.

  51. Interesting points, but the Tory policy has always been to make an exception for Boris.

    Actually, that’s everyone’s policy when it comes to Boris. Lucky Labrador.

    Certainly if I were in the party (which I certainly am not) I would regard someone who spoke his mind a couple of times a week, on the record and in public, as a huge liability. But then, he’s been very useful for them, helping frame the debates the way the Tories prefer, backing off stories that might not help the party or his own re-election chances, etc. That’s the only thing that can explain the fact that he hasn’t said a word about the war in Lebanon; what good can it possibly do him or them?

    And yet, an award-winning political journalist would naturally want to be all over that story, particularly with Blair looking more than a little vulnerable at the moment.

    Oh, and speaking of Blair,did you hear that the Goubernator himself, Arnold, has offered him a job in Terminator 4 if nothing else turns up?

    British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger addressed a group of journalists yesterday in Long Beach to tout their anti-global warming initiative, the Funny-Accented Coalition for the Environment. When Blair, who will not be seeking re-election, was asked by a reporter about his future career aspirations, Schwarzenegger quickly stepped in to do what he does best: Obliquely reference one of his own movies.

    If he needs a job and wants a job in Hollywood, I’ll get him to play ‘Terminator 4’. Anything’s available,” he said, laughing.
    “Now that is definitely the best offer I’ve had. Actually, the sad thing is, it’s the only offer I’ve had,” joked Blair, who is on a five-day visit to the United States.

    The Governor wasn’t kidding: A fourth Terminator installment has gotten a greenlight, and although its plot is under tight wraps, the role set aside for Blair–as a T8000 legislative cyborg who grows to be reviled by his own robot community after choosing to have them participate in a highly unpopular machine-uprising on the other side of the universe–should offer him plenty of life experience from which to draw.

  52. I think it’s time for a new terminology in describing political systems; this ‘left’/’right’ concept doesn’t convey enough information any more. For example, I can’t see a great deal of difference between Dubya’s (right wing) neo-Conservative regime and Tone’s (left – center) ‘socialist’ ‘new Labour’.

    Perhaps we need some new dimensions and redefinitions. So, how about:

    Left – right dimension (x axis) – describes commitment to law and order/enforcement. Far left = anarchy, far right = police state.

    Up – down dimension (y axis) – describes commitment to public ownership. Deep down (bottom) = complete state ownership, high up (top) = everything privately owned.

    I also think there is a need to describe the military standpoint of the government, perhaps call this North & South.
    North/South – militaristic tendency. North pole = very militaristic, government and military deeply entwined, South pole = virtually no military, defense budget approaching zero.

    And further, the tendency of the regime to ‘spin’ facts.
    Left spin = Free & unfettered media, tells the truth, Right spin, lies about everything, media tightly controlled.

    It’s a ‘quark’ of nature.

  53. Blair government:

    Northern, hard left, high left spinner.

    And I didn’t think he liked cricket.

  54. All I know is this anarchal communist seems to have plenty in common with anarcho-capitalists lately.

    But god, who’d call Tony Blair a socialist??? Where I grew up, we called ’em Tories.

  55. Well, Boris calls them socialists.

    He said something recently about socialism abondoning its desire to own big chunks of industry and now prefers to implement strict, authoritarian legislation.

    But I agree, Blair is not a socialist, possibly not even a human. (Lizard?)

  56. Aren’t the lizards part of the royal family? I didn’t know he was a social climber, too.

    Yeah, I guess Boris would call him a socialist, but that’s like Marx calling me a capitalist; everything’s relative. Sometimes I think the political continuum is a Mobius strip.

  57. Susan,

    I doubt he has worked 12 hour shifts in a hotel late bar chatting the night away and picking up monster tips off drunk businessmen, or in a call centre full of hot blonde women laughing the day away at the idiotic people that phone you.

    He’s married mortgaged up and probably never will either.

  58. …webmaster just back from holiday…

    Ape, Gordon and dear PaulD — I go away for a few days and all this nuclear stuff happens on our lovely site!

    Time to post in friendly terms now and hereafter, you great heroes

    from She Who Must Be Obeyed

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